My cherry tomato plants are growing beyond any expectations - plants are almost 2 m tall and they will soon reach shading net above them. Plants are healthy with a lot of new flowers on top.

Is it safe to prune top of the plants and still have new growth?

1 Answer 1


Tomatoes can be topped by cutting them a short distance (~2 cm) above a leaf node. It does cause tomatoes to focus energy on lower parts of the plant including fruit and stems. Once done, you'll need to do it again periodically on "suckers" from the plant as they grow taller.

Are you currently cutting the "suckers" off the tomato plants? Are the plants determinate or indeterminate varieties (or both)? How far apart did you plant the tomatoes?

It appears your weather stays right in a good zone for tomatoes all summer long. Topping them now would likely reduce the yield. However, if you've planted them with a lot of distance (~1 meter between plant) then topping will cause both the fruit and the "suckers" to be more active which would allow you to leave the shade netting where it is and still get a decent harvest from the fruit the grows on the suckers.

If you are planting close together and have been pruning suckers, you could consider raising the shade netting as an alternative. Otherwise you will be reducing the yield from the plants. Pruning on top - "topping out" a plant - is generally something to do closer to the end of the season.

  • 1
    Thanks for answer. I'm regularly removing suckers but I'm not sure about variety... (Determined/indeterminated; one variety should give all fruit at one time, other gives fruit during its lifetime?) Anyway, I decided to let plants grow free this year, next year I'll redesign raised beds or grow another tomato variety. Jul 3, 2018 at 18:25
  • Why are you using shade cloth for tomatoes? Where is it that you live? Indeterminate plants are like vines. Determinate tomatoes are similar to a bush. Indeterminate tomatoes take up less room because they can be grown vertically. I am unable to see that topping an indeterminate tomato plant would be beneficial. Could you not provide a few strings for it to find purchase? Pruning suckers is still out for testing. I prune tomatoes for air flow by getting rid of vegetative branches...remember, tomatoes have their fruit BENEATH the leaves for shade or they will sunburn.
    – stormy
    Jul 4, 2018 at 21:25
  • Are you growing in a greenhouse? Or are you growing out of doors? There are plants and seed for 'greenhouse cucumbers'...'greenhouse tomatoes'...next year no tomatoes should be grown in that same soil. Actually for two entire years you should not grow tomatoes in the same soil you grew tomatoes or potatoes or peppers or eggplant. I grow my tomatoes and peppers in pots with potting soil to enlarge my garden real estate.
    – stormy
    Jul 4, 2018 at 21:29
  • @stormy Thanks for info. Shading net was put as cover from strong sun and protection from hail. We have weird weather in Bosnia :( Greenhouse is overkill atm, I can't afford it now. Jul 5, 2018 at 9:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.